By Mike Atwal
8th August 2019

Those Who Are No Longer

There are two things that TVR and Saab have in common; their wonderful quirky creations and the sad fact that they are creating no longer.

The now laid to rest marques have some cracking motors still roaming the Earth. I think some of them have the potential to be superbly collectable. The bonkers Tuscan and the 2001 or so 9-3 Viggen. The Tuscan seems fairly obvious, but why have I chosen a fairly modern, almost ordinary Saab?

That particular generation offered one of the last hurrahs for the more familiar Saab silhouette with a tweaked version of the manufacturers high output four cylinder turbo lump, the B235R. With around 250 horses, the insanely responsive engine nestled into an aggressively styled body shell that is now hard to find. It is from a time when manufacturers were not so caught up with emissions, but performance trump cards. And they did things their own way. This Saab still had the famous ‘can’t take the key out until you put it in reverse system’ on the manuals. The ignition barrel itself was located between the front seats and a night panel button turned off all the dash lights aside from the speedo when driving in the dark.

The mighty Tuscan, with its insane big displacement straight six and a throttle that actually made you go faster the deeper you pushed it, unlike many modern cars where beyond half a push of the pedal makes no difference, now stands out as a raw, unhinged performance icon. Purely one for the trump cards war. With endearing features such as the door release on the wing mirrors, chunky machined metal gear knob, removable roof panel that lived in the boot and its menacing styling, I have to say there is not much like it today. It was fibreglass. No emissions bound nonsense, along with the absence of airbags and driver aids. TVR didn’t believe in them. TVR was doing it their way.

One could argue that Saab and TVR are perhaps no longer as they insisted on doing it their way.

In fact, are there any mainstream car manufacturers still doing it their way? I had a long think about it and only came up with one.